“Changing Women's Fashion”: A Look at Coeds' Clothing on SU's Campus from Pre-1900-1950s

Changing Women's Fashion on SU's Campus Henry David Thoreau said "Every generation laughs at old fashions, but follows religiously the new." Female students at Syracuse University have been no exception. What was acceptable classroom attire changed markedly from the 1870s to the 1950s. Hemlines rose and fell, and the term "casual" took on a whole new meaning with the introduction of trousers and shorts in women's daily wear. Female athletes battled full figured, knee length skirts and eventually tight and skimpy shorts in their efforts to play sports, and evening gowns transformed average girls into campus fashionistas. From dressing for class to glamming up for a University dance, co-eds on campus provide a wonderful look at fashion trends throughout the decades.

The Syracuse University Archives is pleased to present this online exhibition about changing fashion trends among Syracuse University co-eds. This exhibit will look closely at changes in hairstyles and accessories, and athletic, casual and formal wear on campus from the founding of the University (1870) until the close of the 1950s. Photographic prints, images from the Onondagan (SU's yearbook) and student newspapers, as well as advertisements, cartoons, and news clippings highlight fashion movements on campus. We hope you enjoy this exhibit, as we take you from bustles to bermudas!

~This exhibition was curated by Cara Howe.